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Review Nikon D7100

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The Nikon D7100 was launched in February 2013, as the successor to the Nikon D7000. The Nikon D7100 is a semi-professional camera with an APS-C / DX sensor with a whopping 24 megapixels (6000 x 4000), which is fifty percent more than its predecessor has. All three 24 mp Nikon DX cameras (D3200, D5200, D7100) have a different 24-megapixel sensor. The Nikon D7100 sensor differs from the other two, since it doesn't have an optical low-pass filter (OLPF), that most of the digital cameras have to prevent the moiré effect. Such an OLPF filter decreases the sharpness of your images and thus it is good to skip it. Compared to the Nikon D7000, the AF system is improved (more fields) as are the video features. Among other things, there is now stereo sound for video.

Nikon D7100 test

Design

At first sight, it isn't easy to distinguish the Nikon D7100 from the Nikon D7000. On close examination, there are a few differences. There is a separate start / stop button for video. And there are some buttons repositioned to allow for a slightly larger LCD display. Also notable is that each external connection now has a separate soft rubber flap. The large dial on the left has a locking device, so you can not change the settings by accident. As befits a semi professional body, the Nikon D7100 has two card slots, both for an SD card. Nikon camera's traditionally have buttons everywhere: on front, top and rear; the design is less tight than some other brands.

Nikon-10-24mm-DX-7100

There is a distinctive "Nikon" style, which helps you, coming from another Nikon SLR, to find the right button quickly. The AF button is right below the lens mount, which is an awkward location. The camera has a built-in flash, which can be used as a master flash for Nikon Creative Light System. What the Nikon D7100 lacks, is a built-in WiFi connection. You can buy a separate transmitter (reasonably priced at 59 Euro) that you can plug in. Also, GPS is not in the package. For that you will have to pay more. Both the external GPS and external Wifi ensure a clumsy extra protrusion on your camera.

Nikon D7100 versus Nikon D7000

  • Nikon D7000 24 megapixels (Nikon D7000: 16)
  • No Optical Low Pass Filter
  • AF with 51 fields (D7000: 39)
  • Video with stereo sound
  • Slightly larger LCD screen 1,3 crop modus  

Double card slot

Nikon D7100 versus Canon 60D, Canon 700D en Nikon D5200

  • The Nikon D7100 is more rugged than the Nikon D5200, has better autofocus, no articulating screen. It is 200 g heavier.
  • The D7100 has more dedicated (ISO, AF) buttons for features you can only access through the Nikon D5200 menu.
  • The Nikon D7100 has a second dial and a display on the top.
  • The Nikon D7100 has a built-in AF motor (which retains AF with non AF-S lenses). The Nikon D5200 has no built-in AF motor. A direct competitor is the Canon 60D, which has less pixels than the D7100 (18 MP) but an articulated screen.
  • The Canon 700D has an 18MP sensor, an articulating LCD touch screen

StadhuisOrigineel

Nikon D7100 Dynamic range? Enormous! Move your mouse over the image above to see what's hidden in the shadows. This is no HDR: just a panorama of 4 images shot with the Nikon 10-24mm at 400 ISO, f13, 20 sec

Viewfinder screen and menu 

The Nikon D7100 has excellent optical viewfinder, which covers the entire image and has a viewfinder magnification of 0.94x. There is no electronic viewfinder, let alone an LCD screen, that will beat the clarity of this optical viewfinder! The essential camera settings are shown at the bottom of the viewfinder. There's nothing wrong with the LCD screen, but we use it only in the studio, in order to focus very accurately. This way you eliminate potential front-focus/back-focus problems that may occur when the autofocus is not completely consistent with the lens used.

The Nikon menus do not usually excel in clarity. The Nikon D7100 has an awful lot of settings. It takes some searching for you to find the parameters you wish to change. Fortunately, there is also a shortcut menu, which you can customize.

D7100 top

Image Quality

In terms of image quality, the D7100 belongs to the top. The resolution (sharpness) is very high, and is only surpassed by the Nikon D800E. Both cameras have no (Nikon D7100) or a weak (Nikon D800E) low-pass (OLPF) filter. Such a filter is used in most cameras with a CMOS sensor to suppress moiré. The image is in fact made less sharp by the low-pass or anti-aliasing filter, and then unsharpened by software. This procedure leads to loss of detail. In fairness we should mention here that the Nikon D5200 in our resolution measurements performed just as good as the Nikon D7100, although it is equipped with a low-pass filter. This observation might be explained by the degree of in-camera sharpening, which may vary per camera. Because of the huge numbers of pixel of the sensor, the chance that you will see visible moiré (an interference pattern that also gives false colors) when using this camera is very small. Especially when you are using a kit lens. The resolution of the optics is then the limiting factor. If you really want to get the best out of this camera, buy a high quality lens at, for example, a fixed focal point 50 or 35 mm lens.

DynamicRange
Some photographers confuse overexposed highlights with a low dynamic range, I can illustrate it with the image above. Without looking at the histogram , you could feel that this image is too dark. If you would have overexposed this image by 1 or 2 stops, hen the flower would seem much nicer n your LCD screen. At home you will see in the histogram (not everyone uses the histogram on the camera), that the highlights are overexposed. That has little to do with the dynamic range: the dynamic range of the camera is big enough for this situation, the white flowers are much brighter than the background. In such situations it is better to rely on the exposure meter of the camera, instead of the LCD screen, and afterwards thadjust the luminance of the flowers on the computer.

Dynamic range Nikon D7100

The dynamic range of the D7100 is very large, like the D5200 though. The nice thing is that the Nikon D7100 body also has an HDR option, whereby two shots with different exposures are taken. These images are then combined into one HDR image by the camera. The practical utility hinges on how the camera puts the two images together. Sometimes there is no correction and sometimes you get "double images. Then you must work with a tripod (and it appears to be to create pixel-level exactly falling over themselves two shots almost impossible, there is always some misalignment occurs). With the D7100, we 'out of control' HDR recordings that look fine. The software that the two images are linked so works well. The HDR-level (the differences in exposure) can be at three levels. At the highest level, the pictures will be very unnatural.

Noise

 

100isonoise

 

The noise performance of the D7100 is very good. Up to ISO 800, the noise is not really noticeable. How small the differences are, especially at 100 ISO jpg files, you can see from the 100% crops of a gray card, shot with a Nikon D7000, Nikon D5200 and Nikon D7100. At higher ISO values, the differences are more pronounced. Among the cameras with an APS-C size sensor, only the Fujifilm X-E1 is better, but that camera has a completely different sensor. It is worth noting, that the omission of the low-pass filter on the Nikon D7100 did not lead to a better signal-to-noise ratio compared to the Nikon D5200. In theory you might expect a higher signal to noise ratio above 1600 ISO, according to Fuji.

Modern full-frame cameras, regardless of whether they come from Nikon or Canon, have a higher signal-to-noise ratio. This can certainly be an argument for choosing such a full-frame model. The Nikon D7100 has an ISO range that runs up to 6400. There are two additional steps available, indicated by Hi1 and Hi2. We would keep the latter two ISO settings for emergencies. The pictures look somewhat artificial and there is a color shift. Even if you turn off the high-ISO noise reduction.

 

NikonD7100Color

Color accuracy Nikon D7100

Color accuracy Nikon D7100 The color accuracy in Auto white balance mode is as we are accustomed to a Nikon SLR: fairly faithfully but with a slight color shift from red to yellow. Which is pleasing when shooting portraits. The color of images shot in tungsten light showed an orange color cast. The test results for the Nikon D7100 are in our Nikon D7100 test report.

Of course you can adjust the color balance in the camera in every way possible taste. We never do that: the result actually is often less compared to what the auto white balance of the camera itself produces. We rather make minor white balance corrections later on the computer. 

kleur

Crop Modus

 
The outer rows of pixels are simply omitted. You get a smaller image, 15 megapixels, the crop factor is 1.3. Multiply that with the crop factor of the APS-C sensor (1.5) then you get a factor of 2, which is approximately equal to that of a Four Thirds sensor. The factor of 1.3 is not arbitrary: all focus areas namely fall exactly in this frame. In the viewfinder, despite the 1.3x crop mode, the entire image is visible. The cropped image is indicated by a black frame. The crop mode provides an extra telephoto effect. But if you're out there, why not just record in full APS-C format and crop later as needed (which even can be done  in-camera, using the retouch menu). The real benefit of the crop mode is that the camera become faster due to the smaller files: 6 frames per second compared to 5 in the "normal" mode (in 14-bit RAW).  CROPAF

Autofocus

 

The Nikon D7100 has a feature that we had not seen before on an APS-C camera: a crop mode. In the Autofocus   The AF system can be used with lenses with an aperture of up to f/8. This is particularly useful for nature photographers that use their fast telephoto lenses in conjuntion with a tele-converter. The autofocus is fast and accurate. It has no less than 51 focus areas, which you can select individually or in groups. Equally important is the fact that the AF in low light (according to specifications: at -2 eV) still continues to function properly. Obviously there are a number of advanced AF settings. In 3D-tracking, for example, a subject is followed partly based on color information. The Nikon D7100 has a built-in focus motor for use with "older" non-AF-S lenses. That works noticeably slower but we have not tested it extensively. Maintaining AF with built-in AF motor is a major plus compared to the Nikon D3200 or Nikon D5200, if you use old Nikon lenses without built-in AF motor. 

af

Conclusion Nikon D7100 review

 

Pros

Cons

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Prosumer
Year:2013
Overall score:8.3
Resolution:7.5
Dynamic Range:8.3
Noise:8.5
Color:7.8
Whitebalance:6.5
Megapixels:24
Sensor:APSC
Sensor magn.:0.63
fps:6
Weight (gram):675
MSRP NL (Euro):1179
  • Very good image quality, in every way!

  • 24 megapixels, you can crop almost endlessly 

  • Excellent AF

  • Well built and at the same time good portable

  • Part of large system, whith many accessories

  • Price / performance ratio acceptable 

  • No GPS, no WiFi
  • No articulating screen
  • Buttons are everywhere
  • The menus are very long  

GS-award2014The Nikon D7100 is one heck of a camera. Except for built-in WiFi and GPS, it checks every button on our wish list. The image quality (signal to noise ratio, dynamic range and resolution) is excellent. In terms of image quality, it is better than the Nikon D7000. But the Nikon D7100 and Nikon D5200 are very similar with respect to image quality.The advantages of the Nikon D7100 over the Nikon D5200 are in the features (built-in AF motor, a very handy second dial, more dedicated buttons and double card slot), rather than in image quality. An obvious next question is: how does this camera compare to a Nikon FX camera with a full-frame (FF) sensor, such as the Nikon D600 or Nikon D800? The Nikon D600 and Nikon D800E turn out to score even better. But they cost a lot more than the Nikon D7100.

See our overview of tested cameras to compare the Nikon D7100 with other cameras. The test results for the Nikon D7100 are shown in our Nikon D7100 test report.

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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